A ceremony to honor the canines that were a part of the Ohio State University K-9 Unit was held at Blankenship Hall on Friday.
Members of the Department of Public Safety recognized Andor and Daran, two recently retired K-9s of the unit, for the time and service they brought to the police force. K-9s Izzy and Ena, the two that replaced the retired K-9s, were also officially welcomed to the team.
“We always need dogs that are able to step up to the occasion,” Officer Bryan Thompson, the Ohio State K-9 Unit team leader and Ena’s handler, said about the decision to bring in two new K-9s. “Not that Daran and Andor couldn’t do that, but when a dog is 10 or 11 years old, you have to wonder how much gas they have left in the tank.”
Izzy, a 2-year-old bomb-sniffing and patrol dog, is OSU’s newest K-9 welcomed by the team.
Izzy’s first day on the job was this past weekend at the OSU-Michigan State football game with her handler, Officer Tim Cooper. Prior to working with Izzy, Cooper was the handler of Andor.
“It’s different because I was with Andor for almost eight years, so I’m starting all over again, but it’s fun,” Cooper said about working with his new sidekick.
Ena began working with the OSU K-9 Unit and Thompson this past September. Prior to Ena, Thompson was the handler of Daran for nine years, which is the typical amount of time a K-9 serves with a police unit, Thompson said.
“It’s bittersweet,” Thompson said about retiring Daran. “Daran was the hardest dog I’ve ever had to work with, but he was the best dog I’ve ever worked with up to this point. (Ena) has a big bar to step up to, but she can do it.”
K-9s have been used in law enforcement for over 100 years, according to the Dogs for Law Enforcement website. OSU’s K-9 Unit began in 2002 and has become a vital part of the University Police.
To conclude the ceremony, a poster of past K-9s that have worked with University Police was presented. The poster will be hung on the wall of the Blankenship Hall lobby to recognize the members of the K-9 unit.